Welcome to Windows 10
Those are the words Microsoft’s Terry Myerson uttered earlier today. The company has officially taken the wraps off its next major operating system, and its focus isn’t just on tablets this time, Windows is back and it’s been redesigned for everyone. Microsoft has re-implemented a number of core features for desktop users, and is also planning to improve the touch-based side of things too. Windows 10 will be the Windows to rule them all.
Kicking things off with an old classic feature, the Start Menu is making a return in Windows 10. The Start Menu in Windows 10 is brand new, incorporating a number of things found within the Start Screen from Windows 8. The new Start Menu is a mix of both menu and live-tiles, which means you can still glance at app information whilst seeing already open applications on the desktop.
Microsoft has also allowed Windows Store apps to run within the desktop environment, meaning apps downloaded from the Windows Store will no longer be forced to run in a fullscreen mode on the desktop, and will instead be treated like any other normal window. The Charms have moved into the titlebars of these new windows too, which will allow for easy access with a cursor.
For power and multitasking users, Microsoft has introduced an improved snap mode. You can now snap four apps at once (instead of two), all equally on the screen. This new feature lays them out in a quadrant style, meaning each application can take a quarter of the screen at one time.
Another great feature for power users is the inclusion of multiple desktops. This new feature allows you to create more than 1 desktop for different purposes. You can switch between them with ease and windows remember their position and stay open in the background when navigating to another desktop.
Microsoft has added a new button to the taskbar called Task View, which allows for easy and quick switching between open applications and files across multiple desktops.
The File Explorer has also been improved slightly. It now houses your most recently accessed files and frequently visited folders as well as a new Home tab. There are also improvements to Search, Command Prompt and the Windows Store.
For touch-based systems, Microsoft has improved upon the Start Screen we all know and love in Windows 8.1. With a new “Continuum” mode, Windows 10 will detect your hardware and ask you whether you wish to use a tablet user-interface or a desktop user-interface. This detection system works in real time, so if you’re a Surface user and you decide to attach your keyboard, Windows will ask you if you want to use the desktop mode.
Microsoft has revealed Windows 10 at an early stage in development, meaning it’s user interface and feature set is yet to be completed. Microsoft is said to be updating how Windows 10 looks in the future, meaning the final UI is yet to be seen. Things like a Notification Center and Cortana are also in the works for Windows 10, however these features were not talked about or revealed today.
There will also be a Technology Preview, which can be downloaded and used by anyone tomorrow. You can give feedback about the operating system through the new Windows Insider Program too.
Stick around at WinBeta for all the latest regarding Windows 10. I will have a hands-on video of the Windows 10 Technical Preview in the coming hours which will demonstrate all the new features found in the latest build, so stay tuned.
You can also watch the entire media briefing embedded below.